As Public Sector Unions find it difficult to come to a consensus in their fight for 25% gratuity from government, one other union, the Commercial Industrial Workers Union (CIWU), has completed negotiations with one of the state-owned entities.
President of the CIWU, George Mason and Deputy Director of the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Dorset Cromwell and Labour Commissioner, Cyrus Griffith last Friday signed off on salary increases and other benefits for workers.
Mason told reporters after the signing at the Ministry of Labour that the agreement had been concluded for some time now and what has been agreed upon took effect on Monday.
“We have always had a very good relationship with the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and its board and this morning having concluded the agreement sometime ago, we are very happy that it can be signed today, that the workers can get their salary increases from Monday”, he said.
“It has come after a lengthy negotiation with the background being the government fiscal responsibility and state-owned enterprises and statutory bodies being asked to be compliant with the new guidelines – so it took some time, but we are happy that we can come here and sign it today”, he added.
According to Mason, the agreement covers uniform and salary increases and fringe benefit, as well as a health plan and pension and “things that can really engender more comfort and a more social and equitable distribution of the pie in NIS”.
Mason chose not to disclose the percentage of the salary increase workers has been afforded but stated that he was satisfied with the amount.
“I am very satisfied. As a matter of fact, we had a breakdown (in negotiations) at a particular time and we had to carry it to the Labour Commissioner who gave a recommendation and it had to be taken to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Finance then gave its approval. So, I’m very thankful also to Mr. Griffith’s efforts and we look forward to continuing the negotiation process for 2019 and beyond,” he said.
Deputy Director of NIS, Dorset Cromwell said industrial relations have always been fruitful between the NIS and CIWU.
“We (have always) had cordial relationship with the union and we’re happy to sign today. The industrial agreement has a number of different components and we have had agreements basically in all of them in salary increases, uniform etc. As I said, we’ve always had a good relationship and hoping that it will continue in the future; see no reason it will be different going forward,” he added.
The agreement will cover the 2017-18 period and the two sides are expected to shortly begin negotiations for 2019.
The CIWU has concluded negotiations with the Grenada Co-operative Nutmeg Association (GCNA) and is looking to start talks with George F. Huggins Co. Ltd.